How to perform Squats

Squat – what is this? Well, it is an exercise for the whole body which not only builds up muscle tissue but also strengthens the bones and ligaments. They are really important for developing your strength as overall and increasing the size and the strength of the legs in particular. Squats with weight are part of the sport powerlifting that consists also of bench press and deadlifts. In order to get as much benefits as possible, you have to know how to do the exercise properly.

How to perform it

You should first place your feet at a slightly wider distance that that between your shoulders. Your hips have to be over your knees while your knees should be over your ankles. Your shoulders should be back and down, keep them away from your ears.

Put your arms straight ahead. They have to be parallel with respect to the ground. Turn your palms towards the ground. (For some people the following position may be more comfortable:
palms facing each other, thumbs pointing up, and elbows put close to the body.) Inhale, unlock your hips (and bring them slightly back) and start to lower yourself down. While your knees keep bending you should keep putting your hips backward.

Your shoulders and your chest should stay upright, your back should be straight while your butt should start sticking out while you are lowering yourself. To keep your spine in the correct form and to not put too much stress on it, you should look straight ahead. Lower yourself until your hips start going below your knees (if you are not comfortable doing that, start by going not that low). Your bodyweight should be placed on your heels. Strongly explode to starting position.

Mistakes to avoid

One common mistake people do is lean their body too much forward. Remember, most of your weight should be put in the heels while you are lowering yourself down to keep your torso upright.
Another mistake is to lean your knees inward. To prevent this mistake you can turn your toes out at 5-20 degrees. To go dip enough and to avoid injury your knees should be in line with the hips and the ankles.

Descending too quickly should also be avoided. This is particularly bad if you are using weights for it increases the risk of an injury. Lower yourself down steadily and slowly. Also, if possible, avoid not going down enough. Of course, if it is too hard for you, you can also go down to a greater height but try to lower yourself until your thighs are parallel with respect to the ground. It helps to take a wider stance.

More advices

This exercise is a complex one and so you should warm yourself up before performing it (warming up also helps prevent injury).
You can do squats only using your bodyweight or you can use some weights as well. For example, the most common type squats with weights is the back squat where you use a barbell resting on your shoulders behind your neck. If you choose to do this, remember that you should inhale, descend while holding your breath and exhale when you are back to starting position. Moreover, in the end we will show you a video where you can see how squats are performed:

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